Hour of Code
This week most of my time and energy has gone into going through some of the new features on Code.org and a few of the many third party educator resources. This is such an amazing resource, and so much of it is free. This year I decided to change up the offerings for grades 4-6 and use the time to introduce microbits. Across the board, the students did a great job. We'll have to look at investing in more of these, as well as more peripherals- sensors, servos, etc. I'm looking forward to seeing what these students can create. K-2 students worked on the iPads with challenges in Scratch Jr and Kodable. Third graders were the first class to try out the new Dance Party. It was an exercise in close reading; those pesky directions! All of this from Day 1... Here's the link to this year's HES Hour of Code site.
Google Expeditions Guide
I've written about Google Expeditions before, but Nick LaFave has created an excellent guide that you may be interested in. You do not have to have fancy glasses or viewers to see these.
This statement was important to me: "No Fancy Equipment Required Originally designed for viewing with a virtual reality headset (or Google Cardboard and a phone), expeditions now work on any mobile device (iPad, tablet, smartphone); just click “View Full Screen” when you open the expedition."
Check out Nick's guide here. He also has a great detailed spreadsheet with a searchable list of all available expeditions.
Adam Bellow posted a link today to showcase the Holiday Breakouts that are available on the platform. It made me realize that I haven't done any breakouts at HES so far this year. We'll have to pick a couple to try.
Insight Mission Activities
Wow! How exciting! A new Mars landing! These are just a few of the resources available to teach students K-12 about Mars, about coding and creating. My friend, Adriano CyberParra Parracciani, one of the original members of the Global Educator's group, created this template in Scratch for you and your students to try.
JPL has a very detailed project, again using Scratch, with various tasks to complete. You can check out that one here.
You can find some great NGSS aligned K-12 lessons about Mars here.
And of course the NASA Journey of a Lifetime Resources are here.
Looking for PD?
Well, I can't make to a teeny percentage of all the wonderful conferences offered. Luckily some share their resources online. VSTE, down in Virginia, just finished up and shared these sessions. I will have take notes on this one: 10 Things to do When the Wi-Fi goes Wonky
Don't forget about the 12 Days of PD from The Birdville ISD down in Texas https://sites.google.com/g.birdvilleschools.net/12daysummit/home
Ditch Summit is coming soon! This is where you get your ticket. It's free.
"The Ditch That Textbook Digital Summit is a FREE virtual event from December 14-31. It brings together some of the brightest minds in education to discuss technology, pedagogy and more."
Multiple Google Accounts?
This week a teacher asked me about the logins on Google accounts. Since most of us have at least two logins- school and personal, it's important to know and to control which account you are in. I noticed this just last week as I created a doc in my personal account and then shared- unsuccessfully- to students, who cannot share/view out of district docs.
I have used the directions Kasey Bell shared a few years back. Alice Keeler also has a really nice step by step. My extensions are different on different accounts. You can also change your backgrounds, etc- to make it much more apparent to you. Check out Kasey's how-to video below- or if you like written directions to follow- go to Alice's blog.
Advice from Austin
I get Austin Kleon's weekly newsletter. Admittedly, I skim it, rarely reading the whole thing. But, this past week, I actually spent time on and enjoyed his post "We are verbs, not nouns". Go ahead. Read a short article. Less than 5 minutes. You'll like it.
The tools that caught my eye this week, include physics simulations, digital math and a really nice article about using Book Creator and Adobe Spark.
had a really nice article featuring Holly Clark and Tanya Avrith:
How To Use Chromebooks For Powerful Creation in School.
Great examples of both tools.
Need more PD?
Did you miss EdTech Team's ANZ Summit last weekend. Have no fear- it's available on YouTube. Check out the line- up here. Here's the blurb, "Introducing the theme CREATE, we’re mixing it up to unveil new and ever-evolving content on the most relevant topics and learning principles in the classroom today, including mindfulness, accessibility, creativity and personalized learning. Expect engaging sessions covering everything from Creating with Chromebooks to Creating Real World Problem Solvers and Teacher Leaders."
The Birdville ISD down in Texas is hosting a 12 Days of Innovation Summit.
Tony Hylander posted about this on the Future Ready Instructional Coaches group. Sign up is FREE! You will get an inspirational video via email each day. Our featured speakers include Matt Miller (Ditch That Textbook & Google Teacher Tribe), Damen Lopez (No Excuses University), Sean Gaillard (The Pepper Effect), and more! For each video you will have the opportunity to reflect and earn a certificate of professional learning. Sign up today!
WMass Scratch Meetup
I'll just repost their announcement here. If you have never tried Scratch, if you are a Scratch expert...all are welcome. Especially with the upcoming release in January of Scratch 3.0- Perfect Timing!
"Calling all educators, K-12 teachers, out-of-school leaders, tinkerers, and makers. We've got tech prizes, Scratch 3.0 updates, and a great learning community for you to join at the upcoming Meetup. And...we will be joined by a leader from the ScratchEd team at Harvard. Don't miss this opportunity to hear from the ScratchEd team first hand and share tips, tricks and questions in real time!
Scratch Meetups are designed like an unconference. We will build the agenda together and dig into topics that you want to learn about. Join us for a unique learning opportunity. Share your Scratch experience, meet new colleagues, and stay for dinner.
If you are a seasoned teacher looking to learn new Scratch tips and tools, or someone recently inspired to learn about Scratch, this is the learning opportunity for you.
Certificates of participation will be available for teachers who need documentation.
Feel free to bring friends! RSVP at https://www.meetup.com/ScratchEd-WMass/"
Global Ed & Empathy
One of the most effective ways I know to foster empathy is to demonstrate the similarities we share. Global education projects provide a great pathway. One of the nicest projects I came across last week is the Kindness Rock project. Our 4th grade teachers have embraced both global ed and several kindness projects which actually just enhance and continue their longstanding excellent class projects. For those who haven't seen the Kindness Rock project:
Two of my champions of Global Ed have been hard at work this past week. Both Lucy Gray and Julie Lindsay have new projects in the works. Julie, over at Flat Connections, is offering a new PD program for educators that looks really interesting. After having taken her Flat Classroom course (twice), I know that I can recommend her professional development offerings for all who are interested in expanding their horizons with their students. This new series is called Playbooks and is divided up into 4 strands. You can read much more about it here.
Flat Connections is also starting a new round of projects for students. The new project this round is Windows to the World for grades 3-6, as well as the familiar favorites. This looks like an updated, revamped model of the A Week in the Life project, which I helped moderate 5 or 6 years ago. Lots of fun, lots of learning. Check out all the projects that are on offer here. These are well managed, global projects that really help you and your students connect around the world.
Lucy Gray is on the road again, currently at TCEA in Texas, then moving on to Mumbai, D.C and Boston. She and Steve Hargadon offer an incredible wealth of opportunities for teachers and students at all levels. Check out her upcoming work here.
Scratch 3.0 Preview
For all of the Scratch fans out there... it's almost here. Scratch 3.0 is due to be released in August, but... you can preview it now!
Check it out herescratch.mit.edu/preview-faq. Lots of info on the FAQ page too. Even more info is available on the wiki.
This is also the summer of the Scratch conference at the MIT media lab in Cambridge. Lots of fun, lots of learning. Amazing group of international educators. I can honestly say that I have met more people from other countries at the Scratch conferences I have attended than at ISTE conferences. I can sit and talk with folks from across the Connecticut River or sit and chat with friends from Mexico, France, Russia, Sweden, or Brazil. More info here.
Curation, Fact-Checking and More...
I had tagged a great article from Joyce Valenza- one of the world's greatest librarians- to share and then I listened to an excellent webinar from the folks over at Common Sense Media about a new game they are creating for middle and high school... but then I saw this image and post from Cult of Pedagogy by Jennifer Gonzalez. I am a dumper. I'll give you the links and maybe do a second blog post on our snow day tomorrow- but enough! I know I tend to overwhelm teachers I work with at times, but at least then I can go in to the classroom and help, can sit down and talk it through. After reading the examples she cited- oh, yeah. That's me. So... maybe tomorrow.